One of the best kept secrets in fashion, Project 96, is delivering great quality clothing, visually pleasing presentations, a unique take on modern streetwear aesthetics, all while infusing African culture in each collection. P96 recently had a NYFW presentation for the next project, “Heritage”, and the products looked amazing. We caught up with the designer himself, Peter Johnson born and raised in Lagos, and asked him a few questions about the brand.
How did PninetySix get started, who is part of the team, and what does it mean?
It’s Project 96, the P stands for Project, it’s based on my beliefs that everyone in life has a project to fulfill. ’96 is my year of birth. So with Project 96 I’m setting out to fulfill my life’s project & eventually helping others fulfill theirs. At first I was handling all the parts of the brand, but we’ve picked up a good running team that handles important parts of the brand.
How does your Nigerian background influence how you make clothes?
Fashion in Nigeria is so eloquent that you just have to take it in to really understand it. But truthfully, since I’m not wholesaling or using “African prints”, I’ve always just made staple pieces meant to enhance your closet and we’re making pieces that you can easily style.
How would you describe the style of P96?
So, with Project 96 designs, I tend to have an underlying message to every Project/Collection. I want people to feel, feel empowered to go out and fulfill their project. To know that everyone in life has a project to fulfill. I want them to feel as though they can do anything they put their mind to. It’s definitely bigger than clothes.
How do your parents feel about you designing clothes?
My mom made Jollof rice for the models that came to the NYFW presentation, my dad gave me his car even though he had an important meeting in New Jersey. Over the course of time, they started to believe in my work ethic. They might not be for it 100%, but they’re always giving me inputs, which I love.
How was the NYFW presentation?
Man, that was one for the books. I don’t even know how to explain it, I was so excited I couldn’t even speak properly. But to put it in words, it was surreal, Glory be to God, to think this Nigerian Immigrant in NYC is pulling a crowd, putting together a NYFW show that actually sold out, I’m so grateful.
There were a lot of African characteristics infused in not only the clothing but the aesthetics as well. What made you want to do that?
We’ve been scouting for models 2 months in, because we only wanted to use African models, from different countries to really depict the message behind Project 3 – Never Forget Where You Came From. Also, shoutout to NKEM, funny story we actually met about a week to the event, I knew she was creative with styling & set designing. So I reached out, we met up, I explained everything I was trying to accomplish with the presentation, to showcase the pieces but to also present Africa in a beautiful light with our Kings & Queens & our culture. We both had ideas, and we put them together and there we had it; such an amazing individual, by the way now she’s the brand stylist.
Project 3, “Heritage”, is set to be released tomorrow on the website and you can also follow the brand on all their social media below.